We’re proud of the community we have at Sittercity. Babysitters and nannies regularly check in with each other to share info and ask questions in our Facebook group. Everyone is so willing to share their experience and advice to build up others and the profession as a whole. It’s really a beautiful thing.

To continue supporting our sitters and nannies in their professional development, we asked our community, “What advice would you give to other sitters regarding setting and negotiating your pay rate?” Thank you to everyone willing to share your thoughts and make us stronger for it!

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“Always know your worth! If you’re just starting out, then go with a lower rate. But make sure you both agree that when you prove you deserve the pay raise, that it is still an option.”
Bridgette K. | Flower Mound, TX

“Know how many kids you can handle. This will affect what you charge. Remember, this is a job, yes. But, do not overcharge just because you can. Be fair in your pricing.”
Caitlin B. | Chesapeake, VA

“Your rate is based on your knowledge, experience, and the certifications you have. Depending on the state, the market rate can be higher or lower. But for a professional negotiating good rates, you need to convince the family about your competence. Also, the references you give are very important.”
Elce M. | Miami, FL

“Your time, knowledge, and skills are worth a lot! Caring for people’s children is an incredibly important and challenging job. Talking about money is HARD, but trust me, you are valuable and worth so much to these families. Decide what you want to make, and make sure you stick to it. This is particularly important if your family is asking for housekeeping/laundry/meal prep/errands. You will find the right family willing to pay you what you deserve. Often, I will even begin by asking for a higher rate than I’m ultimately willing to take. So if I need to be making 20 dollars as a minimum, I will go into negotiations asking for 23. It’s a win either way, because if they are willing to pay 23, then you get more, if they want to negotiate down, you’ll likely still get your asking rate. Remember, you’re worth it, don’t settle for less for a job that is so critical!”
Hannah B. | Austin, TX

“Think to yourself what you would feel would be a fair rate if you were the parent. Take into consideration the cost it takes for you to run your business and how much you need to keep yourself afloat financially but remember that parents have to answer those same questions. Don’t try to take advantage of parents. If they feel like your rate is too high, tell them how you need to make so much but can lower it to “X” if it would help them while still providing for you.”
Holly B. | Appleton, WI

“Know your worth but go in with an open mind to being flexible, especially when just starting out. Make sure to take into account the rate but also other benefits that might be offered along with it.”
Jamie M. | Weymouth, MA

“Be honest with yourself about what you need and the value of your experience, education, and what you bring. Give a range of what you are looking for. Make sure the rate is within the range for the area you are in and keeping with your qualifications. It’s best to state your needed rate without apology. You are professional. If they see you believe this about yourself, they will too. If they do not have the ability to pay your rate, ask yourself if you would begrudge a lower rate. If the answer is yes, then move on, even if you love the family. Someone else can better help them because you can’t afford resentment.”
Jenna S. | Santa Cruz, CA

“Know your value. Understand your strengths and what you have to offer. Once you own what you have to offer don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.”
JT C. | Surprise, AZ

“Never feel bad that you want to be paid what you deserve! Always speak up! Be respectful but still have a common understanding that this is your job/life.”
Kadeeja D. | Boston, MA

“Research the going rates in the area you are seeking work. Also, factor in your level of experience, educations, and any certifications you may have”
Kim G. | Philadephia, PA

“Know what you are worth. If you have several years of experience then you should feel comfortable asking for a higher rate. Also depending on how many children you would be caring for, added responsibilities such as laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, this should factor into your pay rate. If you run into a family that wants to pay you a lower rate and you don’t feel comfortable with that rate, stick to what you had set and don’t accept a position unless you are absolutely comfortable.”
Linda S. | Tewksbury, MA

“As a sitter with twenty years experience and who has moved multiple times, I like to look at averages in my area to ensure I am within the range for professional sitters. The biggest worth differentials are experience and certifications. I highly recommend other sitters get a background check and child abuse registry clearance along with CPR and first aid certification, including infant CPR. Many areas also offer ”safe sitter” courses. I happen to also be a parent myself now and I do not hire sitters lacking any of the above qualifications for my own children. I personally keep a +/- $5 an hour range listed on my profile. I give families the opportunity to explain their needs and anticipated pay and go from there. If expectations are vastly different I will point them in the direction of looking for a younger less experienced high school or college sitter needing to gain experience.”
Marie M. | Bensalem, PA

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“I never get a salary or fixed pay. If the hours are more I have found you lose out. I always get paid by the hour. I let them know that it’s a win-win. I also request a raise after I am there a year if the job becomes more demanding. They are willing to pay it because then they don’t want to lose you. I asked for a dollar more and got it. I usually set it high and then ask what they had in mind and meet in the middle.”
Mary N. | Fallentimber, PA

“Make sure to get a complete and accurate account of what the job entails in order to set your pay rate. Network with other nannies and if it’s possible to get an account from the family’s previous nanny, go for it! Nannies are service driven and often end up taking on extra tasks outside their job description. It’s important to get a clear set of expectations and know what a comparable position’s pay rate is.”
Rachel D. | Chicago, IL

“Always be firm, your experience should speak for itself. If they came to you, they should know your price range so don’t budge. Don’t let a family guilt you into taking a lower rate.”
Nickita C. | Mansfield, TX

“Always say you’re rate is negotiable. Every family has a different income and expense ratio. Sometimes an interview indicates a set pay. Other times the interview results in a family willing to pay your rate because the personalities click and before you slip away they think of a way to shave other expenses to accommodate you. The ultimate decision falls on the “right fit”. A strong, long term, loving relationship is better than a few extra dollars if it’s you that needs to make the sacrifice. Also, some families offer perks that others can’t offer if you’re over their budget.”
Rajean C. | Palmetto, GA

“Do not be afraid to ask for what you are worth. Parents will actually respect you for it and for those who can not afford your services will appreciate that you were honest enough to say, so both parties will not waste their time.”
Sandra S. | Boston, MA

“If the family is giving a range of pay, say $12-$18, don’t aim for the bottom. It will be hard to negotiate further if you already settled for the minimum. The best way to negotiate is explaining why your services should cost more, i.e. multiple kids, pets, driving, tutoring, cleaning, anything in addition to just watching a single kid.”
Shannon N. | Williamstown, NJ

Looking for more advice from other caregivers? Check these out:

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